Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


Yesterday was a good day for me.  I was able to get my "raptor fix", both here at home and by going to visit my dear friend, who is associated with the Northern Illinois Raptor Center.  She boards two education birds on her property and allows me to get in a little handling time with them.   As much as I miss being involved with Raptor Rehab and Education, somehow my current commitments are not allowing time for it.

But first, for here at home.  I got up a little earlier yesterday morning.  The sun was rising and the sky was clear.  We have been having temperatures in the 40's , so, as I have mentioned before, we have open water on our lake.  A new eagle that I haven't seen this year landed in a tree in the back with a huge fish and began to dine (judging from the amount of white on her head and tail, I would guess her to be 4 or 5 years old).  It has only been in the last few years that we have had eagles in our area at all.  Except for one pair of adult eagles nesting two lakes down, we have had primarily transient juvenile eagles.  I am hoping that soon, as they mature, we will have a permanent population of them up here.  They are wonderful birds to watch.  So bear with me ... the eagle pictures are taken with my telephoto lens and are not as clear as I would like.  With the sun being behind my subject I end up with silhouettes.  I think you will get the gist anyway ...

Arriving with Breakfast ...

When finished she leaves, satisfied for the moment

Their wing span is breath taking ...

The next two birds , compliments of the NIRC are an
 American Kestrel (male) and a Barred Owl.  The Kestrel had an injured left wing and the Barred Owl is imprinted on humans, thus they were unable to be released back into the wild after their rehabilitation.

The American Kestrel shown here with Barb so you can see the size of the bird and the methods of handling.  The male and female Kestrel are one of only two raptor species that have different coloring.

The male and female Barred Owl can only be told apart by their size or a blood speciman.  The females in the Raptor world are bigger (Yes!)

Not every day can be this exciting (at least to me) so it makes me feel like I want to share it with you ... Hope you enjoyed.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Botanical Gardens in the Winter

The Botanical Gardens, with its muted colors and stark bare branches, strikes a special kind of beauty.


Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Bird with bad manners ...

I can hear my mother saying,"Don't take such big bites!"



Six Word Saturday

                         I have lost my Frigging mind!

Tag. I'm it ...

OMG ... I have been tagged for the first time! 

Thank you McGuffy Ann of McGuffy's Reader

... you always manage to make life more


As in any game, there are rules.  Here are the

rules of this game.

1. You must post the rules.

2. List eleven things about yourself.

3. Answer the questions the tagger set for you in

their post, and then create eleven new questions

to ask the people that you have tagged.

4. Tag eleven people and link to them on your


5. Let them know you've tagged them!

Eleven things about myself:

1. I was a Tomboy ...

2. I am probably still a Tomboy ...

3. My favorite cowboys were Roy Rogers and The

Lone Ranger (What? You didn't have a favorite


4. I have been married 47 ... yes, 47 years. Were

they all good years? No, but enough of them

were to make it worth sticking it out. :)

5. My memory sucks ... oops, excuse me can I use

that word? Anyway, I have a hard time

remembering names of things and people. I

probably will retrieve the right name in 24 to 48

hours after I need it which is beyond frustrating.

Have you ever tried carrying on a conversation

without using nouns or proper nouns? The only

one I can make any sense to is my husband who

can usually fill in the spaces for me. Actually, I

have a few friends who are pretty good at it too.

That is one of my "old poop" traits.

6. I don't smoke, and I don't drink and I don't ...

well, never mind. It is not that I am so pure, I

just know, being a nurse, that those things are

not good for you. I have seen patients cough up

part of their lungs and patients bright yellow and

crazy because they have destroyed their livers.

That is not the way I want to go. And I don't

recommend it to anyone else.

7. I love raptors. I respect for their tenacity, their

strength, their beauty. I can spot a raptor

anywhere. In fact, I scare the crap out of my

family when I am driving and pointing out all of

the Red Tail hawks along the road at the same

time. But I can't pass on a moments glance.

Somehow my brain lets me get away with it, so it

is what it is.

8.My best friend is a dog. Yes,Isabeau, Izzi, busy

Izzi, frizzy Izzi, dizzy Izzi, Frisbee Izzbi, izzi

BoBo ... What ever you want to call her. Different

moments, different names as the mood strikes.

She is what is keeping me young. I spend a good

part of my life with her. We walk, we do agility,

we go visit Aunt Annie (McGuffy Ann) and beg

for treats, we play Frisbee (we call it the "F" word

because we can't mention it in front of her

without her lunging for the door in anticipation).

She is smart ... sometime smarter than I am, 

loving and I wouldn't trade her for the world.

9. My mother is my hero. The biggest

compliment I could get is to say that I am like

her. I think in many ways I am, but she was

multitalented, funny, smart and loving. She

taught me all I know and feel about the world I

live in. She was a lover of nature and nurtured

my love of life and all living things. I wish I could

keep saying Thank you to her and be sure that

she is hearing me.

10. My father was the pragmatist. He taught me

to deal in the real world, but not be afraid to

follow the words of many great philosophers. He

taught me, long before it was part of our society,

that women are strong and deserve equality. I

love him for that as well as his wonderful sense

of humor and his brilliance. I miss them both.

11. I believe if you give you will receive. I believe

is you receive you can give back, not because you

should, but because you want to. Life is short

and I want to experience it in as many ways as I

can. I want to pass on to my children and anyone

I know the wonder of life and the need to love all

things. Do I get angry? Yes. Do I reject things?

Yes. Do I think nature is brutal, yes, but with

reason and purpose. Do I think humans are

brutal ... sadly yes, but I can sort through that

and find the good. Am I naive? Some think so,

but I am who I am, call it what you may.

My Questions Are:

1. What is your favourite childhood story?

One of my favorites that I can remember as

clearly as if it happened yesterday. My parents

were at a party at a neighbors house and my

sister, who was three years older than me, was

babysitting for me (Ugh ... who wants their sister

to baby sit for them). This is back in the 50's

mind you, so there were door to door salesmen

all around, but not at night. This night a broom

salesman came to our door. We didn't answer it

because we didn't know who it was, but he

started to come in the back door. My dog (a blue

tick pointer mix named Skip) greeted him at

the door with a full set of glaring teeth and

throaty growls that sent shivers up our spine. 

The salesman left and we called our parents and

come home. That may be the first time I really

realized how valuable the love of a dog can be in

your life ... He put himself on the line for us.

2. What was your first vehicle?

Strangely, I never really had my own car until

about twenty years ago. I started out driving my

parent's car when they would let me and then it

was my husband's car when he would let me. 

Looking back on it I am thinking ... hmmmmm. 

But apparently it wasn't important because it

never concerned me at the time. However, when

I started doing Home Health Visits I was driving

many miles every week and it became important

for me to have my own wheels. My first car was a

Honda Civic, bright red and ran like a charm. I

had one problem with it and it was a costly

one. It didn't have an alarm in the car if I opened

the door with the headlights on. That wasn't an

issue until they started telling you to have

headlights on in the day time. I can't tell

you how many times my husband had to drive

miiiiiiilllllleeeesss, to charge my battery so I, or I

should say we, could get home. 

3. What or who was the first concert you


Well, this will date me for sure. My really first

concert was given at our High School for a fund

raiser of some kind and it was Bobby Darin ...

yes, you are reading me right. You know

Splish,Splash ... It was pretty exciting for a high


4. How old were you when you had your first


My first kiss, ahhh yes, it was my first love in

second grade. I was so sure we would never part

ways, but his family moved to Texas and that was

he end of that.

5. Do you have any tattoos? If so, what?

No, I don't have any tattoos. My mother used to

tell me that only the impolite ladies wore

tattoos ... you know that had to be a long time

ago. Times have changed, have they not?

6. If you don't have tattoos, do you want any? If

so, what?

Believe it or not, I am toying with the idea of a

tattoo. Given that I don't like to do anything that

is ordinary, I am considering having a Turkey

Vulture tattoo. I know what you are thinking ... is

she nuts? Well, yes, I am a little nuts. But I have

had experiences with Turkey Vultures that few

others have. Down the road you will learn about

them on my blog if you follow me. How's that for

a plug?

7. What time do you usually get up?

The better question is what time to my feline and

canine friends get up. It is their opinion that if

they are up, I should be up. They usually get me

going around seven, but we have mass confusion

when we change from standard time to Daylight

Savings and visa versa.

8. What is your bedtime routine?

At ten I feed my animals a snack; I take Izzi out

for her last chance walk; I feed the fish and the

snail; I take my pills; brush my teeth; wash my

face and put "wishful thinking" lotion on; change

into my pj's and climb in bed with a dog on my

right a cat on my lap and another cat by my

feet. I turn on the TV and watch mindlessly until

I fall asleep.

9. What is your "irrational" fear?

Probably a fear of heights. I can get woozy just

looking down a stairwell in a building. When I

see ads with women climbing on rocks with

barely enough room for their feet and looking

down and down and down ... that gives me the


10. If you could go anywhere, to where would it


I  am not sure I can pin it down to one place. I

love mountains and wildlife so any place like that

would be a choice. But I also love the ocean and

the sound of lapping waves and the little critters

in the tide pools. Then there is New Zealand. I've

been told that it is just like America in the

fifties ... now wouldn't that be fun? To be honest

I think you could send me anywhere and if I had

my camera with me, I would be happy.

11. What is your favourite snack?

Nuts ... yes, a nut who loves nuts. If I am

overweight, which I am this year and my not be

next year (sound familiar?) it is because I can't

just eat a few nuts. If I have one, I must have

many. I will eat them until I am full. Am I dumb

or what? But, I just keep telling myself how

nourishing they are and the little voices in my

head say ... Go for it!

My Questions:

1.  If you could have only one pet in your life,

what would it  be?

2.  If you had a choice to do it over, would you

have started blogging?

3.  Who was your first heartthrob and are you

still in touch with him/her? 

4.  If we could have the same season all year,

which one would you choose?

5.  Coffee, Tea or liquor(wine, beer, scotch,

bourbon etc.)?

6.  What do you remember most fondly about

your high school experience?

7.  Do you have a collection? If so, what? If not,

why not?

8.  Short hair or long hair?

9.  If you were asked to be a volunteer, what

would you want to do?

10.  Who had the greatest influence on your

becoming who you are today?

11. What is your philosophy of life?

Tag, you're it ...

keith's ramblings

Curious as a Cat


Friday, February 24, 2012

Finally, a real winter snow ...

We have had a very warm winter.  A few dustings of snow, temperatures in the 30's and 40's and open water on our lakes.  Today that all changed. Today we have a wonderful, deep, heavy snowfall.  The real thing ... the perfect snowman building snow and the worst kind of snow to shovel from your walks.  We still have open water, but this is much more like winter, so for the moment, I am going to enjoy and not worry about how soon Spring will be here.

It started last night and was still snowing when I got up this morning ... probably around 8 inches of snow.

You can see the incongruity of the open water in the snowy winter scene.

The birds are waiting for me to clear their feeders ...

The crows love my suet ...

This is my view from my computer desk ... from here I can follow what is going on by my feeders and on the lake.  Sadly I saw Common Mergansers  on the lake this morning.  It is much too early for them to be here.  They usually migrate through in April.  Hopefully, with the open water, they will be able to feed and tolerate what winter has in store for us until they can move on.  So that's my story today.  Hope you are having a wonderful day too.

Rain Frances Creations, TADD ... Eggs

  EGGS A pipping Barn Owl ... We raised Barn Owls from eggs at the Rehab Facility while participating in a Research Project involving dimini...